HCL Unica’s Tom Hannigan shares insights from a hotel client with MarTech conference attendees.
When marketers implement new personalization and DX technology into their stacks, they expect better visibility into engagement with customers, and also measurable results.
“Increasingly, we’re seeing marketers that have either weekly, monthly or quarterly goals, and those might be conversion goals, lift goals or in some cases revenue goals, where they really want to monitor customer journeys in real-time on a very regular basis,” said Tom Hannigan, Global Practice Lead for precision marketing platform HCL Unica, at our recent MarTech conference.
Marketers want to understand where they’re getting performance, where customer experience is falling short and how to make on-the-fly changes, he said.
Better experience for hotels
Hannigan pointed to a client of his in the hotel industry who launched a mobile app to connect all the points of the customer journey. This became even more crucial as the pandemic added new health concerns to staying at a hotel.
“There was a big opportunity to reinforce the safety and cleanliness of the hotels, and then also [benefit from] the speed and convenience of doing a contactless journey all the way through from booking a reservation to checking in, through being on-site and checking out,” said Hannigan.
Getting visitors to adopt the mobile app would give them a better experience and allow the business to provide personalized services, he explained. With all of these touchpoints in the experience, marketers would also be able to deliver personalized and relevant offers to customers.
Mapping out the journey
In order to locate the best places in the customer journey for the hotel to offer services to their guests, they mapped out each step in the journey.
“You want to deliver personalized messages around amenities and other conveniences while customers are on-site,” Hannigan said. “And then the last part is really encouraging the mobile check-out, not only because it’s safer for customers, but it also saves the hotel money and creates convenience because you don’t have to wait in line.”
Connecting goals with actions
The hotel business then established goals for improved experience and services, as well as marketing goals through personalized messaging.
“What are the things that the customer does or does not do that they actually get a benefit from when adopting the mobile app?” Hannigan asked.
They chose to send confirmation emails when a room was booked to complete a reservation
“There were a few other [actions] in there that we could have sent out as reminders,” Hannigan added. “We said look, let’s focus on those golden milestones first. The same is true of check-in. If you don’t check in, the rest of the experience is invalid, so let’s make sure we get the [mobile] check-ins happening.”
One idea the hotel company had was to put the room key on the mobile app, forcing guests to download the app in order to get into their rooms. That one was shelved.
“Making sure people adopted the on-site [mobile key] is something we decided wasn’t part of the golden milestones, so we put that on hold for Phase One,” said Hannigan.
You might have made the customer experience more seamless, but marketers also want to hit their goals.
“From a marketing perspective, you want to prompt people to finish a booking,” said Hannigan. “You want to make sure you’re sending out those reminders in the case of mobile check-in, you’re looking at the key card when it’s used, and then sending out the welcome message, then following up at mobile check-out.”
Marketers should also have a deeper conversation with marketing ops and IT about the sources behind some of these customer signals, because that’s also an important part of the experience — where customers are engaging.
“It isn’t just one source,” Hannigan said. “So in the case of a booking, that may be part of the website, it may be a booking or reservation API, or some other data source that’s occurring in real-time. You’re going to need to bring those events in.”
Improving the customer experience with a mobile app adds more complexity for the marketing team. But if they continue to map the journey, they will discover more opportunities for improving service and hitting goals.
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